TIps on Organizing Text on Your Website

The question of text placement on websites has long been an issue with website designers and copywriters. The trick is to display your text in such a way that everyone can easily read it. In the past, text placement on websites has been hindered by low screen resolutions, making two- and three-column text websites almost impossible. Now, however, two-column text layouts are increasingly common and websites owners have far more functionality as far as text placement options. One Column vs. Two Columns The first question you’ll need to answer regarding text placement on websites is the debate between one-column and two-column pages. Studies show that reader comprehension increases with multiple columns, though a single column makes for faster reading. The main benefit of multiple columns on a website is that you can fit more information “above the fold”, which is the newspaper term for the top page of the paper. On a website, “above the fold” means the visible screen before the reader must scroll down. The more information above the fold, the more likely the reader will be to continue. Line Lengths Another issue regarding text placement on websites is line length. Again, shorter line lengths make for better comprehension, but readers can read faster with longer line lengths. Obviously, a website with one column will have longer lines than one with multiple columns, so you’ll have to decide which is more important. Further, you have to remember that with higher screen resolutions, you can have wider website pages, which allows for more space above the fold. The optimum number of characters per line for a website is between forty-five and sixty-five, though this also depends on the size of your text. You don’t want to overwhelm your reader with words, but you likewise don’t want to offer insufficient information to engage the reader’s interest. Paging Paging should also be considered when it comes to text placement on websites. Studies show that comprehension is higher and readers tend to stay longer when they have to “page” for information rather than scroll. In other words, if your website consists of one long page, readers are more likely to go somewhere else than if you were to divide that information into several pages. In fact, some web design experts advise business owners to keep their entire website “above the fold”. This allows the reader to glance at the site and will ensure that he or she will not move on and miss important information below the fold. Obviously, this won’t work for all websites, but if you are having trouble keeping the attention of your readers, you might consider a different design. Text Justification Another issue regarding text placement on websites is the justification of the text. We can all agree that justifying both ends of text makes it look neater, but studies show that both comprehension and speed dwindles when text is fully justified. It is much better to left-justify or center your text on the page. You can bookend the other edge of your text with pictures or a navigation bar if the jagged edge bothers you. Text placement on websites is not a science, but it is something to consider. You don’t want to spend $2,000 on a website only to find that it brings you neither readers nor customers. To experiment, you might want to use different text placement strategies on different pages to see which ones are more successful.